Seven months after my daughter was born, it became clear that if I was to survive motherhood, I had to wake up before she did. At first, this seemed counter-intuitive, as what I wanted most was more sleep. However, God knew, when he beckoned me to rise an hour before the baby, what I really needed more of was Him.
Being a creature of habit, I quickly developed a quiet time rhythm consisting of coffee, worship music, a few chapters scripture and prayer. If my littes happened to sleep in, I might indulge my inner nerd and spend the extra time looking up keywords in the Greek or Hebrew or cross-referencing any interesting verses.
Now, my fear is that you’ll read those last two paragraphs and imagine that I magically became a morning person and never struggled to get up and spend time with God. That would be false. This was a daily struggle for me, but over time and by the grace of God it became a part of my daily rhythm. A rhythm I began to look forward to and rely on.
These quiet times were like a tall, refreshing glass of water; a beautiful way to begin my day. But after three years of the same rhythm, I began to crave a change. More than that, I was desperate to dive deeper. I longed to not simply read God’s word but to internalize it. Somewhere along the way, I was discovered a Benedictine practice that fit the bill: Lectio Divina. And I have to tell you, I love it!
What is Lectio Divina?
Biblegateway.com has a great article detailing the specifics of Lectio Divina (you can read it here), but I’d love to share a brief summary with you. Lectio Divina is an traditional practice of slowly reading God’s word with the intent of hearing His voice. The intent while you read each word or each phrase, is for the Holy Spirit to speak to you, making a word or phrase “leap off” the page and into your heart. Now, this practice is not magical, and it does not guarantee you will experience God in this way- but it does create a space for you to turn your attention to God and expect for His Spirit to speak.
There are traditionally five steps to this practice:
- Lectio (read): reading a passage slowly and carefully, considering what it says.
- Meditatio (mediation): thinking deeply upon the spiritual truth within the passage.
- Oratio (prayer): talking to God about what I’ve read.
- Contemplatio (contemplation): considering what God might be asking of me through this scripture.
- Actio (action): Adjusting my life to be in accordance with His word.
Why I love it
When I began to explore Lectio Divina, I anticipated it would be a lovely alternative to my current rhythm. What I did not expect was for it to be so…luxurious.
Don’t get me wrong, for the first month or so, the process of slowly reading scripture felt awkward. I struggled to quiet my mind. I had to fight to keep myself from rushing ahead, devouring the scripture of the day. Accustomed to chugging the Word, I had to work to slowly sip the words and allow them to rest on my heart. However over time, I found savoring each word with the expectation of hearing from God took that tall glass of water and turned it into a deep glass of wine.
Through Lectio Divina, I learned to slow my pace when reading my Bible, and to invite the Holy Spirit to speak to me while I am reading. It created space for God to highlight a word or a phrase and presented an opportunity for dialogue. I also love that it reminds us to take the truth we have gleaned and turn it into action. It encourages us to be not merely hearers of the Word, but doers.
Sip to Savor
Lectio Divina is a rich, luxurious way to engage with the Word of God. Clearly, what I am doing with Sip to Savor isn’t really Lectio Divina. However, it is a chance for you to join me in dipping our toe into a rather deep pond. It is my sincerest hope that by helping you create a little space to savor God’s word in your day, He might lead you to find other ways to engage with Him and His Word in a whole new way.
Haven’t heard of my Advent video series, Sip to Savor? Check out this video to learn more:
Are you curious how I developed a quiet time rhythm that stuck? Join my email list below and I’ll send you my free e-booklet titled, “Five Reasons You Struggle to Establish a Morning Quiet Time (And How To Fix It!)”.